Centre For Family Equity
Pictured above, in no order: Minister Niki Sharma and Ministry of the Attorney General staff and lawyers, Legal Aid BC CEO Michael Bryant and staff, Raji Mangat, executive director of West Coast LEAF and staff, CFE legal team pro bono lawyers. From the Centre for Family Equity: Viveca Ellis, executive director, and board members Erin Arnold, Mai Eagle Speaker, Andii Stephens, Leila Trickey, and representative members Crystal Howard and Kiana Dashtbazi.

We are grateful to all pictured here for working hard towards our conclusion today and for sharing our vision for a family law legal aid system that truly meets the needs of women escaping family violence. Gratitude to all of you. The charter challenge journey was long and winding but we made it to a place defined by hope, vision and long-term systemic change.

Centre for Family Equity resolves charter challenge with historic agreement on legal aid

February 15, 2024

(Vancouver, BC: Unceded Coast Salish Territories) The Centre for Family Equity charter challenge has resulted in an agreement that transforms the legal aid system.

After seven years of determination and hard work with our legal team led by West Coast LEAF, the charter challenge on access to legal aid for lone mothers escaping domestic violence has concluded.

Today, the Centre for Family Equity, the Ministry of the Attorney General, and Legal Aid BC announced a multidisciplinary intensive family law clinic model for people experiencing family violence.  The government is investing $29.1 million over the next three years to support LABC in implementing these changes.

The new clinic model aims to provide better access for parents who have faced financial and other barriers to obtaining legal services. 

Today’s announcement will replace a one-size-fits-all formula for family legal aid with a robust, multidimensional and sustained services model. The Centre for Family Equity and the legal team worked to establish new policies that protect lone mothers' assets, expand income criteria for more services, and provide trauma-informed programs. This will have a profound impact on vulnerable people.

The solutions offered by this exciting new tier of services will make the family law legal aid system more responsive to on-the-ground realities of survivors and better able to meet their complex legal needs. 

This historic agreement was the result of a collaborative process between the Province of BC and the Centre for Family Equity supported by the dedication of our legal team. It would not have been possible without the passion and commitment of so many of our devoted members. 

Many women and parents who founded our organization shared their stories of the lived reality of poverty, intimate partner violence, and lack of access to justice in family law to impact this work. Better access to legal representation saves lives.  This initiative will have a profound and positive impact on the most vulnerable low-income mothers, women, parents, and children who experience family violence in this province.  


This is something to celebrate!

Our work on this constitutional challenge over the past seven years has not been funded. We will continue our commitment by participating in developing the clinic model and that work begins now as part of the settlement process. We need your help.

Please celebrate with us by donating to our continued work on family justice. Every contribution, small or large makes a difference! 

This is the beginning of a new era in access to justice in family law for those impacted by intimate partner violence in BC. We look forward to consulting on the clinic’s design and we are committed to monitoring the results.  

We express gratitude for the incredible commitment of our legal team led by West Coast Leaf, the Ethos Law Group, and the many pro bono contributors who donated their time and energy to this impactful outcome. 

Read more about this important initiative here.